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What is the cause for pain in the upper left abdomen?

Q: My fiancé is suffering from pain on the left side below the ribs. The X-ray revealed that his diaphragm has enlarged by a couple of inches. I wanted to know how is this possible and how serious is it? Whom should we approach for treatment?

A:Pain in the upper left abdomen is usually the splenic flexure syndrome and is caused by gas in the bowel. This improves with relief provided by constipation treatments. Sometimes the pain is caused by a diaphragmatic hernia which can be improved by weight loss, although resistant cases may need abdominal surgery for repair. If however the pain is due to an above the diaphragm cause, it implies chronic pleurisy which will improve with time.

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